Attorney: ‘No guarantee’ on free trash collection

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FRANKLIN—Did the city promise 30 households from two Hunterdale subdivisions free garbage collection when it annexed their properties nearly 25 years ago?
City Attorney Taylor Williams says no.
Councilman Don Blythe raised the issue during a council meeting two weeks ago after being contacted by a resident. A report given to the Commission on Local Government in 1984—when Franklin and Southampton County were negotiating the terms of the annexation—said the customers in the Gillette and River Road Farms subdivisions would receive free garbage pickup after the annexation was completed.
Before annexation, the customers were paying a monthly charge of $8.67 for garbage collection because they lived in the county, but were receiving service from the city.
“The charge was only for customers living outside of the city of Franklin,” Williams said Monday. “An earlier part of the same report that went to the Commission on Local Government stated that in 1984—when the report was prepared—the city did not charge anything for garbage or trash collection for residents of the city.”
In 1994, Franklin started charging a monthly fee for garbage collection for all customers in the city—including those annexed in 1985.
“It was no guarantee” that those residents would receive free trash collection forever, Williams said.
Blythe said he understood Williams’ reasoning, but asked if the city was “breaking a commitment to the people.”
“I don’t think we kept our word to them, but that’s my personal opinion,” Blythe said.